Monday, March 26, 2007

Ann's Top Ten Romance Heroes of all Time--Number Six

Augustus McCrae: Texas Ranger, Cattleman, Jester, Idealist and Old Coot



One of only two literary characters whose death made me sob, Gus embodies all the mythical qualities of cowboys and the old west that make our hearts pound. Nevermind he's in his sixties. Honor, horneriness, heroism and toe-curling sex appeal know no age boundaries.

We're first introduced to Gus as he sits drinking on his porch, watching the sun go down over the dusty flats of his border-town ranch. This metaphorical sun is also setting on Gus' life and his way of life, and he's getting philosophical--in fact, he decides this is going to be his role. Let the others work. Somebody needs to be the thinker around here!

After a midnight raid into Mexico to steal cattle for their herd, Gus and his partner Call learn of the death of one of their arch enemies. The two men feel empty inside. After years spent fighting Indians and Mexicans, there's no one left. They feel adrift and purposeless, until an old friend rides into town and talks of green pastures up in Montana, free for the taking. The men decide to go on a cattle drive and settle new territory.

Thus begins a monumental journey that will show some how to live and some how to die.

Gus is the compass through which everyone learns to navigate. A natural leader, he's absolutely fearless and resolute. He has a soft spot for a couple of women in his life, and is open enough (and old enough) to learn a few things from them. He's a big enough man not to take advantage of their weaknesses, but to show them how a caring man should treat them.

Is he perfect? Not by a long shot and that's part of what makes him so grand. As a Texas Ranger, he was judge and jury back in the day and he still embraces the Old West Code of justice. He has no qualms about smashing a rude bartender's face into the bar ("Guess along with that drink we'll be requiring some respect") or stringin' a friend up from the nearest tree. But he makes sure it's done right. His endless jabber forces everyone into the dread corner of self-examination.

All in all, Gus is a larger-than-life, wonderfully well-rounded hero. He can fight, he can think, he can joke, he's a better lover than most men of his time, but most of all, he encourages men and women alike to live.

And that's why Gus McCrae is one of my top ten romance heroes of all time.

2 Comments:

Blogger Mystery Man said...

Oh, wow. What a great post. In particular, I really enjoyed this: "We're first introduced to Gus as he sits drinking on his porch, watching the sun go down over the dusty flats of his border-town ranch. This metaphorical sun is also setting on Gus' life and his way of life, and he's getting philosophical--in fact, he decides this is going to be his role."

That was great.

Hope you're doing well, Ann.

-MM

April 02, 2007 12:46 AM  
Blogger Ann Wesley Hardin said...

Thank you, MM! I'm so glad you stopped by. I'm enjoying your screenwriting blog-a-thon. What a great idea!

Hope to see ya again, Ann

April 02, 2007 5:27 AM  

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